Sunday, January 6, 2013

December 14, 2012 - Zone Conferences

With our new assignment, it's been a busy week with lots of driving. Tuesday we met our P.E. Elders at the Lorraine Frail Care Center and worked on the garden which we planted several months ago. It's coming along nicely now. Elder Tonge, from Draper, worked in landscaping with his father. He was a big help. Tonge stacked up three old tires, filled them with dirt and made grow boxes. There was lots of weeding to do. Then I took Elders Cobabe, Tonge, Sheward, and Slabbert to my neighbours house to spray. They live next door but have a field on the opposite side. With all the rain, many tiny worms have invaded the property. These tiny catapiller worms were actually coming out of the mortar and foundation of their house. As Maurine waters my flowers when I'm out of town, I wanted to rid her property of these tiny pests. It was a good service project for our elders. We had lunch and then Tom played the guitar and sang some Island songs.

 That afternoon we drove up to Grahamstown for Tom's 5:30 meeting with branch leaders. We stayed that night in the visitors flat at Alan Bamford's retirement centre as our Grahamstown flat was being repaired. It won't be available until Saturday. As there is space in a secured area for a garden, Alan wondered if the Grahamstown elders would like to plant a garden for Brookshore residence. He prepared our dinner and then breakfast the next morning.

 Then we were off to East London for the Zone Conference there. The Christmas Zone Conferences are a lot of fun for the young elders. We had instruction and training in the morning. Then a gift exchange. Next a catered dinner and then we enjoyed a movie -- "Courageous." We had pizza and cookies afterwards. We will help with Zone Conference for the P.E. Zone today. The three senior couples here have prepared gift bags and each elder. And everyone will receive a neck tie with the mission emblem embossed on ties in either black, red, blue, green or yellow--the colours of South Africa's flag.

 There are many young black converts preparing to serve missions here. We will be driving Masixole to East London on December 27th to be set apart by Stake President Bell. He will fly to Johannesburg the next day to enter the MTC there. I received permission from President Wood to take our young elders to 10:00 p.m. mass at the Anglican Cathedral in the centre of Grahamstown on Christmas Eve.

 We are presenting the Stokoe Family Christmas program in sacrament meeting on December 23th. We will host the young missionaries at 7:00 p.m. that night and will feed them dinner again on Christmas Even. I've received permission from President Wood to take the elders to mass at the Cathedral in the centre of Grahamstown, so we will be doing that at 10:30 on Christmas Eve.

 Tom, Alan Bamford and I are the speakers in Sacrament Meeting on December 30. Our player piano is programmed play some hymns but none of the Christmas songs. So Elder Van Brugham plays the melody with one hand while the congregation sings. Grahamstown branch has a choir but no pianist and no choir director.

 Tom has yet to meet the second councillor in the bishopric. Evidently he has gone inactive as he returned the keys to the church. Evidently this has happened in the past but the elders keep working with him. Many of our young adults congregation have been in the church for only a year or two so there is a serious need for some experienced leaders.

 Zone Conference in P.E. begins at 8:00 a.m. I made two batches of brownies and muffins for the Elder's goodie bags. Tom is cooking ham, potatoes and corn and will pick up ice and ice cream before we eat. Jessica will be here to defrost the fridge and get our P.E. flat in good order. Tomorrow we move to Grahamstown. However we will be back and forth to cover our PEF assignment. As we have Vonage in both flats making and receiving Christmas calls should not be a problem.

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